Oregon Text Messaging and Cell Phone Laws

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Oregon prohibits texting and use of handheld cell phones for all drivers with the exception of police, emergency responders and drivers in emergency situations. Novice drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use. 

Specfically, Oregon law bans the use of a “mobile communication device” while driving. This device is defined as a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication.  Exceptions include:

  • summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable of summoning help;
  • using a mobile communication device for the purpose of farming or agricultural operations;
  • operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle;
  • if a person is 18 years of age or older and is using a hands-free accessory (a device that when used allows the driver to maintain both hands on the steering wheel);
  • operating a motor vehicle while providing public safety services or emergency services as a volunteer;
  • operating a motor vehicle while acting in the scope of the person’s employment as a public safety officer, as defined in ORS 348.270; or
  • operating a motor vehicle in the scope of the person’s employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person’s job; 

Cell Phone Use

All drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones (see above). Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones, texting devices and other hand-held or hands-free wireless electronic devices.

If handheld cell phones are prohibited, then what’s permissible? Here are the common options:

  • Abstinence (don't use a cell phone while driving)
  • Speaker Phone
  • Use a bluetooth wireless device
  • Use a wired headset
  • Install a car kit

Texting Laws

All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones and from texting.

How is it Enforced?

The fine for violating Oregon’s cell phone or texting laws is $142. Oregon’s cellphone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.

Learn more about Oregon’s distracted driving laws.

Other State of Oregon Information on this Website

Follow the links below for additional information on Oregon driving laws.

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